Nokia restructures again from five units to three

Employees at Nokia must be seriously wondering if the company's management is ever going to decide on a mid to long-term strategy.  For the second time in six months, the firm has undergone a major restructuring.

This time the mobile devices division will be reduced from five units to three units in an effort to provide "greater clarity and integration." Starting in July, the three new units will be labelled as Mobile Solutions (for the high-end), Mobile Phones (for the low-end) and Markets (sales and marketing, branding, distribution, etc).

The high-end sector, where Nokia has struggled most, will be led by Anssi Vanjoki, currently chief of sales and marketing. Vanjoki will report to Jo Harlow who will continue to head the Symbian devices activities. Alberto Torres, with his solutions division now disbanded, will lead a similar group focused on MeeGo products, while Tero Ojanpera will run the services aspect within Vanjoki's group.

Other changes include the surprise departure of Rick Simonson, previously Nokia's CFO and considered a possible future CEO. Simonson was appointed last year to head the mobile phones unit. A new CTO for the Mobile Solutions division, former Sun software chief Rich Green, has been lured into joining Nokia and could provide valuable help given his knowledge of Java and expertise in cross-OS software frameworks.

Industry watchers are divided about the effectiveness of this restructuring. Swedbank analyst Jari Honko said the new structure was unlikely to substantially change the company's position in the premium smartphone segment, while Ben Wood at analysis firm CCS Insight said the changes indicate that Nokia is confident in its strategy of boosting its portfolio with new high-end products based on MeeGo and upgraded versions of the Symbian OS.

Commenting on the reorganisation, Nokia CEO Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo said the objective was to extend its leadership in mobile phones, and move decisively to respond faster to the growth opportunities the company expected in smartphones and mobile computers. "Nokia's new organisational structure is designed to speed up execution and accelerate innovation, both short-term and longer-term."

Some might question, given the company's lamentable performance, why it hadn't implemented these changes sooner.

For more on this story:
- Rethink Wireless & Wall Street Journal (sub. req.)

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